The Sufferings of a Soul. The First Ordeal

And so Mitya sat looking wildly at the people round him, not understanding what was said to him. Suddenly he got up, flung up his hands and shouted aloud:

“I’m not guilty! I’m not guilty of that blood! I’m not guilty of my father’s blood. … I meant to kill him. But I’m not guilty. Not I.”

But he had hardly said this, before Grushenka rushed from behind the curtain and flung herself at the police captain’s feet.

“It was my fault! Mine! My wickedness!” she cried, in a heartrending voice, bathed in tears, stretching out her clasped hands towards them. “He did it through me. I tortured him and drove him to it. I tortured that poor old man that’s dead, too, in my wickedness, and brought him to this! It’s my fault, mine first, mine most, my fault!”

“Yes, it’s your fault! You’re the chief criminal! You fury! You harlot! You’re the most to blame” shouted the police captain, threatening her with his hand. But he was quickly and resolutely suppressed. The prosecutor positively seized hold of him.

“This is absolutely irregular, Mihail Makarovitch!” he cried. “You are positively hindering the inquiry … You’re ruining the case …” he almost gasped.

“Follow the regular course! Follow the regular course!” cried Nikolay Parfenovitch, fearfully excited too, “otherwise it’s absolutely impossible! …”

“Judge us together!” Grushenka cried frantically, still kneeling. “Punish us together. I will go with him now, if it’s to death!”

“Grusha, my life, my blood, my holy one!” Mitya fell on his knees beside her and held her tight in his arms. “Don’t believe her,” he cried, “she’s not guilty of anything, of any blood, of anything!”

He remembered afterwards that he was forcibly dragged away from her by several men, and that she was led out, and that when he recovered himself he was sitting at the table. Beside him and behind him stood the men with metal plates. Facing him on the other side of the table sat Nikolay Parfenovitch, the investigating lawyer. He kept persuading him to drink a little water out of a glass that stood on the table.

“That will refresh you, that will calm you. Be calm, don’t be frightened,” he added, extremely politely. Mitya (he remembered it afterwards) became suddenly intensely interested in his big rings, one with an amethyst, and another with a transparent bright yellow stone, of great brilliance. And long afterwards he remembered with wonder how those rings had riveted his attention through all those terrible hours of interrogation, so that he was utterly unable to tear himself away from them and dismiss them, as things that had nothing to do with his position. On Mitya’s left side, in the place where Maximov had been sitting at the beginning of the evening, the prosecutor was now seated and on Mitya’s right hand, where Grushenka had been, was a rosy-cheeked young man in a sort of shabby hunting jacket, with ink and paper before him. This was the secretary of the investigating lawyer, who had brought him with him. The police captain was now standing by the window at the other end of the room, beside Kalganov, who was sitting there.

“Drink some water,” said the investigating lawyer softly, for the tenth time.

“I have drunk it, gentlemen, I have … but … come, gentlemen, crush me, punish me, decide my fate!” cried Mitya, staring with terribly fixed wide-open eyes at the investigating lawyer.

“So you positively declare that you are not guilty of the death of your father, Fyodor Pavlovitch?” asked the investigating lawyer, softly but insistently.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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